Playing with perfection
Girls soccer: The Wolves pick up their game and get a 2-0 win over the rival Tigers
TUALATIN - Tualatin was practically perfect.
Tigard was pretty persistent.
Perfection won out.
The Timberwolves, with their precision passing and stifling defense, powered their way to a 2-0 win over the rival Tigers in a hard-fought Pacific Conference girls soccer clash played Tuesday at Tualatin.
'This was pretty important to us,' said Tualatin sophomore forward Jill Farley, who had both goals in the victory. 'It's a strong rivalry and it's exciting to get a win against them early in the season.'
'This is a big win,' Tualatin junior defender Mollie Freel said. 'It's always a big mental game when we play Tigard.'
With the win, Tualatin improved to 4-0 in Pacific Conference play, keeping the Wolves all alone in first place.
The young Tigard squad moved to 2-1-1 in league matches with the setback, putting the Tigers in third place in the standings.
'The girls battled hard, and this was a good learning game for us,' Tigard coach Paul Slover said. 'We're OK, and it will keep getting better.'
Tualatin, in Tuesday's match, took a 1-0 lead when Farley scored her first goal of the contest, coming with 29 minutes and 8 seconds left to play in the first half.
Timberwolf senior forward Anna-Marie Popma started the scoring play with a hard-hit cross from the right side. Even though the ball was deflected near the middle of the field, it still found its way to Farley, who was 10 yards in front of the Tigard goal. She put her shot high into the goal to give the Wolves the 1-0 advantage.
'That was exciting,' Farley said. 'I got a lot of help from my teammates. We passed so well tonight.'
Tualatin, after taking the lead, kept firing away, getting shots on goal from Farley, Popma, junior Kelsey Wagner and senior Megan Freel in the next 15 minutes, but Tigard freshman goalie Zoey Dahme made saves on all of those hard-hit attempts.
'She played well,' Slover said. 'She was in the right place.'
Tigard had its best scoring chance with 18:07 left in the first half when senior Jessica Lemieux hit a running shot from 20 yards away, with the ball bounding just barely wide right of the Timberwolf goal.
The Tigers also got a shot on goal by senior Jordan Janac with 11:36 left to play in the first half.
Meanwhile, Tigard senior defender Hayley Bemis stepped up for the Tigers in the final minutes of the opening half.
With seven minutes before the intermission, Bemis made a running kick save of a shot by Popma that looked to be a certain Timberwolf goal.
With just nine seconds left in the half, Bemis did it again. Standing right in front of the goal, she made another kick save of a rocket ground shot by Popma that got past a diving Dahme.
'She did a real good job,' Slover said.
Farley upped the Tualatin lead to 2-0 with a free kick goal coming with 18:51 left in the contest. Farley hit a high, hard shot from 40 yards out, with the ball sailing just over Dahme's reach and just under the crossbar.
'That was exciting,' she said. 'There's sort of a joke that I can't score in the box, but I can from far out.'
From there, the Wolves, controlling possession on offense and playing stingy defense, went on to wrap up the 2-0 victory.
'We're still new together,' Tualatin coach Rossano Rocha said. 'So it was impressive to see a display like that. We had been struggling in trying to find our rhythm, but tonight we were calmly able to spread the field and pass the ball around.'
The Tualatin defense, featuring Mollie Freel, freshman Natalie Shen, junior Makena Carkner, junior Hana Dempsey and senior goalkeeper Celeste Cota-Wockenfuss, among others, limited Tigard to just one shot on goal while recording its fourth straight shutout to start the season.
'We had a lot of strong play throughout,' Freel said. 'We're trying to hold our shutout streak. We don't want to give up any goals.'
'The defense did a fantastic job,' Rocha said. 'The girls played really well tonight, but there's still a long road ahead of us and we have a lot of work to do.'
Prior to Tuesday's match, the Tigers and Timberwolves both picked up league wins last Thursday. Tigard bested Forest Grove 5-0 while the Wolves scored a 4-0 victory over McMinnville.
Both teams will be back in action today (Thursday). Tigard hosts McMinnville at 7 p.m. and Tualatin will be home to face Glencoe at 7 p.m.
On Tuesday, Tigard travels to Newberg for a 7 p.m. contest and Tualatin will play at Forest Grove at 7 p.m.